Thursday, November 15, 2012

Areas Hardest Hit By Sandy to be Spared Worst of Next Week's Storm...

I could have also entitled this post "saved by the High..." but decided to go with one that would perhaps be appreciated more immediately...

Over the last couple of days, computer forecast models have been trending further South and East with the track of the area of low pressure forecast to develop off the U.S. East Coast next week.  Initially the trends were too subtle to have any real impact, but the last 2 runs of both the U.S. and European based models are in significant agreement that the bulk of the higher wave, wind and water action will take place to the immediate South of the area hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy.

The image below is the latest U.S. based GFS forecast model valid 7am EST on Monday morning:

As you can see, it shows the center of the developing low near Bermuda, being suppressed further South by a sprawling area of high pressure over the Canadian Maritimes.  While strong Easterly winds will still impact the U.S. East coast in this scenario, it now appears as though the bulk of the stronger wind and wave action will take place further to the South, mainly from the Delmarva peninsula on Southward toward the outer banks of North Carolina.

The WW3 computer wave model forecast calls for the highest waves and swells to take place from the Delmarva Peninsula, Southward along the Carolina coasts as well.  This image is also valid at 7am EST on Monday:

Higher than normal surf can still be expected along especially the southern Jersey coast late Sunday into early Tuesday, but at this time it appears that the more problematic conditions will take place further to the South.  While we certainly don't wish bad conditions on our friends down that way, at least their sand dunes and barrier islands are in far better shape to handle such conditions after having been impacted far less by Hurricane Sandy than the folks further North.

This is also good news in that crews along the Jersey and New York coasts will have time to continue working to replace sea barriers before the next storm system impacts the region.  I don't mean to make this sound like it's an easy project that can be completed in a matter of days or weeks, because it can't.  With that said, any amount of progress that can be made will be critical in protecting the region from future storms this winter and into the spring.

A natural question then becomes, when is the next significant storm system likely to impact the region?  While nothing is set in stone for sure at this point, longer term models are hinting toward unsettled conditions developing in the region again toward the tail end of this month, specifically centered around the period of the 28th-30th.  There are also increasing signs that a shot of cold, arctic air will invade the region around that time as well.  With that in mind, I certainly hope that power and gas will be restored to as many folks as possible before that time.

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